October 30th, 2009 / 10:57 am
Behind the Scenes & Mean

I’d Probably Get More Replies if This Was About College Rankings

collegeThis may beĀ  weak for mean week, but of late, after catching up with an old friend, I’ve been thinking about college majors and their relationship to what we write. Most people I meet now assume I was an English major, but I was history. Here’s the mildly mean part–I sometimes feel slightly, unjustifiably superior to writers who were English majors–it’s as if I mastered (or, I guess, bachelored) a whole nuther thing first, and they didn’t.

I know that college majors rarely relate directly to future career choice. But four years is a long time to think about something in a serious way. My history coursework was far more rigorous than my MFA work, and my history thesis was much more grueling as well. Somehow, knowing a lot about torture during the Algerian War must inform my writing. All of it does even more for my reading, probably. Context!

So, what did y’all major in? What relationship do you think it has to your writing, if any? If you were in English major, do you think that helps or hurts you, or neither?

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92 Comments

  1. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      Women’s and Gender Studies

  2. Nate

      I was a psychology major, which seems to be one of the more common threads into the world of a MFAer. And I would totally agree about the intensity–my psych papers applying Freudian concepts to the movie “Ghost World” were more intense than most other writings I have done since that time. Though in my last semester I wrote a beast paper about Caribbean poetry. Other than that though, I’m with you on this.

  3. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      Women’s and Gender Studies

  4. Nate

      I was a psychology major, which seems to be one of the more common threads into the world of a MFAer. And I would totally agree about the intensity–my psych papers applying Freudian concepts to the movie “Ghost World” were more intense than most other writings I have done since that time. Though in my last semester I wrote a beast paper about Caribbean poetry. Other than that though, I’m with you on this.

  5. Matt Cozart

      I was an English major, but I wasn’t hugely into it. Before that I was a music major. I’m not aware of either having any effect on my writing, except that being an English major meant I learned names of writers I might not have heard of otherwise, writers who then influenced me.

  6. Meredith

      Philosophy of Language/Linguistics. As if there were something more cumbersome to see on a resume than a Phil degree period.

  7. Matt Cozart

      I was an English major, but I wasn’t hugely into it. Before that I was a music major. I’m not aware of either having any effect on my writing, except that being an English major meant I learned names of writers I might not have heard of otherwise, writers who then influenced me.

  8. Meredith

      Philosophy of Language/Linguistics. As if there were something more cumbersome to see on a resume than a Phil degree period.

  9. Tim Jones-Yelvington
  10. Tim Jones-Yelvington
  11. Nathan Tyree

      First Political Science, but later Philosophy

  12. Nathan Tyree

      First Political Science, but later Philosophy

  13. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      was always very clear I wanted to study something undergrad that would “give me context.” Also appreciated doing something interdisciplinary w/ work in both social sciences and humanities (at its best, you get some of the rigor and methodologies of both disciplines, at its worst, you get nothing/lazy). Agree undergraduate thesis was the most challenging thing I’ve ever written. Major definitely shapes my fiction writing, but in that way where I need to make myself forget everything when I sit down to write.

  14. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      was always very clear I wanted to study something undergrad that would “give me context.” Also appreciated doing something interdisciplinary w/ work in both social sciences and humanities (at its best, you get some of the rigor and methodologies of both disciplines, at its worst, you get nothing/lazy). Agree undergraduate thesis was the most challenging thing I’ve ever written. Major definitely shapes my fiction writing, but in that way where I need to make myself forget everything when I sit down to write.

  15. alec niedenthal

      philosophy right now. my paper on lacan and paul auster last semester was tougher tits than most writing i’ve done, but if academia comes easier than creative work (not to posit the two as ultimately distinct), than maybe you’re meant for the former. i don’t even consider a career in philosophy as a possibility at this point.

  16. Amy McDaniel

      yeah, i totally relate to that. there are so many questions raised in history, and at least from my experience, gender studies, that for me at least have no place in the kind of writing i do now. then again, looking at history documents, i learned a lot about the layers of messages in texts, and the problems of received language, that i think are important to consider when shaping any written work.

  17. alec niedenthal

      philosophy right now. my paper on lacan and paul auster last semester was tougher tits than most writing i’ve done, but if academia comes easier than creative work (not to posit the two as ultimately distinct), than maybe you’re meant for the former. i don’t even consider a career in philosophy as a possibility at this point.

  18. Amy McDaniel

      yeah, i totally relate to that. there are so many questions raised in history, and at least from my experience, gender studies, that for me at least have no place in the kind of writing i do now. then again, looking at history documents, i learned a lot about the layers of messages in texts, and the problems of received language, that i think are important to consider when shaping any written work.

  19. Laura Ellen Scott

      I started out as a journalism major, thinking my mom wanted me to be in something more obviously “vocational,” but when I worked up the nerve to tell her I wanted to switch to English, she said, “Oh thank God. I thought we were paying tuition for you to become a pick-pocket.” From then on English all the way, and now I teach it. I’m never leaving college, unless they take me out on a stretcher.

  20. Laura Ellen Scott

      I started out as a journalism major, thinking my mom wanted me to be in something more obviously “vocational,” but when I worked up the nerve to tell her I wanted to switch to English, she said, “Oh thank God. I thought we were paying tuition for you to become a pick-pocket.” From then on English all the way, and now I teach it. I’m never leaving college, unless they take me out on a stretcher.

  21. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      Yes, for sure, and for me, a lot related to how systems of power are structured, how power functions, and how identities are constructed and prescribed and performed (whoever went apeshit on the word ‘construct’ in an earlier thread might reappear now to ‘mean’ me). I think what I meant was I internalize it and it shapes my work unconsciously… ’cause if I’m self-consciously analytical while writing, esp if I start worrying about how social movement colleagues will respond to what I write, I’m paralyzed and the writing is shitty.

  22. Michelle Panik

      I recently met someone who’d graduated from an Underwater Welding program. That would have to provide good fodder for stories.

  23. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      Yes, for sure, and for me, a lot related to how systems of power are structured, how power functions, and how identities are constructed and prescribed and performed (whoever went apeshit on the word ‘construct’ in an earlier thread might reappear now to ‘mean’ me). I think what I meant was I internalize it and it shapes my work unconsciously… ’cause if I’m self-consciously analytical while writing, esp if I start worrying about how social movement colleagues will respond to what I write, I’m paralyzed and the writing is shitty.

  24. Michelle Panik

      I recently met someone who’d graduated from an Underwater Welding program. That would have to provide good fodder for stories.

  25. davidpeak

      i went to art school and got a bfa in fiction, with a strong emphasis on community outreach work, running workshops with teenagers and elementary school kids. it was pretty much all writing all the time, all reading all the time. little to no emphasis on publishing. i wouldn’t necessarily recommend art school to anyone, actually. but it’s right for some people. it helped me overcome a lot of challenges, learn discipline, how to focus, prioritize etc.

  26. davidpeak

      i went to art school and got a bfa in fiction, with a strong emphasis on community outreach work, running workshops with teenagers and elementary school kids. it was pretty much all writing all the time, all reading all the time. little to no emphasis on publishing. i wouldn’t necessarily recommend art school to anyone, actually. but it’s right for some people. it helped me overcome a lot of challenges, learn discipline, how to focus, prioritize etc.

  27. andrew

      doubled in comp. lit and english (creative writing focus). don’t know if it either helped or hurt or anything. i just like reading books. sometimes, though, i do wonder if a focus on something outside english (such as history) would have been helpful/useful in some way. my degrees were relatively intense, i think, but primarily because i amped up the intensity by doing thesis/honors projects in both majors. from what i could tell (and now as a college instructor see again) very few majors were impressively intense, if any were. they can become intense if you decide you want to get more out of them and, instead of setting your goals on an A, you set your goals on writing the best thesis that has been turned in, or writing something publishable, or being allowed to take grad classes, or something beyond just the standard low level of your average undergrad experience.

      perhaps something about extrinsic reasons for learning (getting an A) versus intrinsic reasons for learning (reading everything in the library about Faulkner because you just want to know everything about Faulkner)…?

  28. andrew

      doubled in comp. lit and english (creative writing focus). don’t know if it either helped or hurt or anything. i just like reading books. sometimes, though, i do wonder if a focus on something outside english (such as history) would have been helpful/useful in some way. my degrees were relatively intense, i think, but primarily because i amped up the intensity by doing thesis/honors projects in both majors. from what i could tell (and now as a college instructor see again) very few majors were impressively intense, if any were. they can become intense if you decide you want to get more out of them and, instead of setting your goals on an A, you set your goals on writing the best thesis that has been turned in, or writing something publishable, or being allowed to take grad classes, or something beyond just the standard low level of your average undergrad experience.

      perhaps something about extrinsic reasons for learning (getting an A) versus intrinsic reasons for learning (reading everything in the library about Faulkner because you just want to know everything about Faulkner)…?

  29. josh

      Most of undergrad major: inter-disciplinary american studies
      senior year major i was able to tag on: english
      should’ve done english & communication studies

  30. josh

      Most of undergrad major: inter-disciplinary american studies
      senior year major i was able to tag on: english
      should’ve done english & communication studies

  31. Schulyer Prinz

      double major: lit and architecture.
      Obsession with structure, self-supporting forms and facade.
      Check.

  32. joe

      english major, too. sometimes i think ‘majored in books’ would be more appropriate to say though. as far as writing goes, i think being an english major allowed me to read what i wanted to read most without it interfering so much with school work (which i understand is backward), and that reading, maybe not the school work itself, influenced writing, knowing at least what i enjoyed reading and, presumably, at least one other person maybe. and most of all was that readership is static. you may love something and the next will hate it. it provided a critical eye at least, and not one that is any better than any other major, but was focused on something different from words than say a political studies major looked for. having a class with samuel delany though was worth the now (to me at the moment) useless major.

  33. Schulyer Prinz

      double major: lit and architecture.
      Obsession with structure, self-supporting forms and facade.
      Check.

  34. joe

      english major, too. sometimes i think ‘majored in books’ would be more appropriate to say though. as far as writing goes, i think being an english major allowed me to read what i wanted to read most without it interfering so much with school work (which i understand is backward), and that reading, maybe not the school work itself, influenced writing, knowing at least what i enjoyed reading and, presumably, at least one other person maybe. and most of all was that readership is static. you may love something and the next will hate it. it provided a critical eye at least, and not one that is any better than any other major, but was focused on something different from words than say a political studies major looked for. having a class with samuel delany though was worth the now (to me at the moment) useless major.

  35. davidpeak

      on a separate note: amy, did you ever read ‘a savage war of peace?’

  36. davidpeak

      on a separate note: amy, did you ever read ‘a savage war of peace?’

  37. Amy McDaniel

      most def. though i have to say, i don’t remember the nuances of horne’s argument…everything i read or watched in the ~3 semesters that i looked at postcolonial france reinforced that same idea of this deep, extreme…not even hypocrisies…untangle-able paradoxes

  38. Amy McDaniel

      most def. though i have to say, i don’t remember the nuances of horne’s argument…everything i read or watched in the ~3 semesters that i looked at postcolonial france reinforced that same idea of this deep, extreme…not even hypocrisies…untangle-able paradoxes

  39. Amber

      Double major: Theatre and Journalism. Master’s in Political Communication. Minored in English and Philosophy and History. (I was in school for way, way too long. Clearly.)

      I’ve always written, but never considered myself a “writer.” So I never even thought about going to school for an MFA or anything like that. Writing was just something I always did, and would always do regardless of my job, so I figured I’d rather get a job that took me to other places and let me meet other people. I think it’s been really beneficial to my writing, and I’ve never been sorry.

      Having said that, I don’t know any writers at all. I’ve got a wealth of friends who are painters, historians, teachers, political operatives, journalists, business people–but no writers, so I haven’t had the benefit of networking with other writers, bouncing ideas off of others writers, working on projects or magazines or whatever with other writers, etc. I have no connection the writing world, so I guess that’s sort of the downside.

  40. Amber

      Double major: Theatre and Journalism. Master’s in Political Communication. Minored in English and Philosophy and History. (I was in school for way, way too long. Clearly.)

      I’ve always written, but never considered myself a “writer.” So I never even thought about going to school for an MFA or anything like that. Writing was just something I always did, and would always do regardless of my job, so I figured I’d rather get a job that took me to other places and let me meet other people. I think it’s been really beneficial to my writing, and I’ve never been sorry.

      Having said that, I don’t know any writers at all. I’ve got a wealth of friends who are painters, historians, teachers, political operatives, journalists, business people–but no writers, so I haven’t had the benefit of networking with other writers, bouncing ideas off of others writers, working on projects or magazines or whatever with other writers, etc. I have no connection the writing world, so I guess that’s sort of the downside.

  41. Amber

      That sounds amazing, actually. The community outreach part is something that I think more art programs of all types should offer–getting people out of this insular bubble and into the community helping out. Very cool.

  42. Amber

      That sounds amazing, actually. The community outreach part is something that I think more art programs of all types should offer–getting people out of this insular bubble and into the community helping out. Very cool.

  43. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      “they can become intense if you decide you want to get more out of them and, instead of setting your goals on an A, you set your goals on writing the best thesis that has been turned in, or writing something publishable, or being allowed to take grad classes, or something beyond just the standard low level of your average undergrad experience.”

      This was my experience as well.

  44. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      “they can become intense if you decide you want to get more out of them and, instead of setting your goals on an A, you set your goals on writing the best thesis that has been turned in, or writing something publishable, or being allowed to take grad classes, or something beyond just the standard low level of your average undergrad experience.”

      This was my experience as well.

  45. mike

      I was a photography major who minored in english, almost exclusively for the grammar and workshop classes. I read enough on my own to not feel like I was missing anything out by not taking many lit classes. but photography has informed my writing much more than any of the english classes have: the aesthetics & theory of contemporary art inform everything i do, and even in my photo classes most of my work was in artists’ books that combined text with image. also, art school critiques are severely helpful to understanding how to navigate writing workshops.

  46. mike

      I was a photography major who minored in english, almost exclusively for the grammar and workshop classes. I read enough on my own to not feel like I was missing anything out by not taking many lit classes. but photography has informed my writing much more than any of the english classes have: the aesthetics & theory of contemporary art inform everything i do, and even in my photo classes most of my work was in artists’ books that combined text with image. also, art school critiques are severely helpful to understanding how to navigate writing workshops.

  47. mimi

      I have a BS in Biology. Ivy League. Ranking? Let’s just say it’s in U.S. World and News Report’s top 20 national universities (I just googled it) and leave it at that. A National Merit scholarship helped pay my way.

      I loved studying Biology, a subject I could not have mastered “on my own at home in my spare time”. I like to “study” life, all of it, always. I guess I could call it “my context”. (I also like inanimate things like rocks and minerals and abstract things like math.)

      I loved the English classes I took while in college. And the classes in French, art, etc etc etc. I like to type: etc etc etc.

      I have a California teaching credential (fun and easy to get). I now “teach Communication” and “consult” part time at several private schools in Oakland as an independent contractor. It’s a living and I do enjoy it very much.

      My favorite job ever, which I only had for a year (contract/funding ended) was developing a range of “integrated” resources and curriculum for the Oakland USD with the goal (“pie-in-the-sky”) of increasing communication skills/literacy in “underserved” populations, and “delivering” these resources to teachers in staff development settings.

      I am not a “writer” in the HTML Giant sense of the word, “never have been”. I’m not looking to advance a career in writing, editing, publishing etc etc. I do not want to be famous. I have lots of good friends IRL. I do write a lot of things down on paper compulsively and/or for fun, I have a private blog because “I like the way it looks”, I often need to write professionally and like to do it well, I type things into etc etc etc.

      I love to read, fiction, non-fiction, the internets, the NYT, adbusters, cross-town Oakland signage, “the back of the cereal box”, etc etc etc. As long as it’s “good quality”, which is basically saying “I know what I like”, which is basically saying “if it touches me, or grabs me, gives me a little (or big) brain orgasm, or makes me laugh or makes me cry or teaches me or informs me or gives me a shock of the new”. I have a fair amount of free time on my hands,so I’m “lucky”, I guess. I have a lot of time to read. On the other hand, I don’t like to waste my time. On the third hand, I do waste my time sometimes. On the fourth hand, I don’t “really” think “it’s” a “waste of time”. That’s basically how I look at things.

      I am definitely not as “well-read” in “the new stuff” as many here at HTML Giant are. *That* is why I come here, and go to numerous other places online. I suppose I like a lot of what I find, but there is a lot of crap out there too. To me it is simply a matter of personal aesthetics.

      Thanks to Justin Taylor I am just finishing up “A Day, A Night, Another Day, Summer”. I borrowed it from the library. I don’t know that I would otherwise have ever found it. And unless I had just written this here, now, Justin would never know that. Now he might. Is that a good thing? I don’t think it matters.

      And I suppose that here and now is as good a time and place as any to address my own personal perspective on anonymous commenters (that means me), a subject brought up in the recent “No User” post. Amy, you mentioned understanding that some folks might want anonymity for professional reasons, and said that you might not want your students “finding you” on the internet. Well, I don’t worry about my students finding me, reading what I write, having opinions thereof. Hell, my students struggle to read. I do, however, worry about some of the administrators I work with.

      I used way too many quotation marks in this comment.

      I don’t like being mean, but I don’t mind mean people. They often make me laugh.

      OK, that’s enough about me.

  48. mimi

      I have a BS in Biology. Ivy League. Ranking? Let’s just say it’s in U.S. World and News Report’s top 20 national universities (I just googled it) and leave it at that. A National Merit scholarship helped pay my way.

      I loved studying Biology, a subject I could not have mastered “on my own at home in my spare time”. I like to “study” life, all of it, always. I guess I could call it “my context”. (I also like inanimate things like rocks and minerals and abstract things like math.)

      I loved the English classes I took while in college. And the classes in French, art, etc etc etc. I like to type: etc etc etc.

      I have a California teaching credential (fun and easy to get). I now “teach Communication” and “consult” part time at several private schools in Oakland as an independent contractor. It’s a living and I do enjoy it very much.

      My favorite job ever, which I only had for a year (contract/funding ended) was developing a range of “integrated” resources and curriculum for the Oakland USD with the goal (“pie-in-the-sky”) of increasing communication skills/literacy in “underserved” populations, and “delivering” these resources to teachers in staff development settings.

      I am not a “writer” in the HTML Giant sense of the word, “never have been”. I’m not looking to advance a career in writing, editing, publishing etc etc. I do not want to be famous. I have lots of good friends IRL. I do write a lot of things down on paper compulsively and/or for fun, I have a private blog because “I like the way it looks”, I often need to write professionally and like to do it well, I type things into etc etc etc.

      I love to read, fiction, non-fiction, the internets, the NYT, adbusters, cross-town Oakland signage, “the back of the cereal box”, etc etc etc. As long as it’s “good quality”, which is basically saying “I know what I like”, which is basically saying “if it touches me, or grabs me, gives me a little (or big) brain orgasm, or makes me laugh or makes me cry or teaches me or informs me or gives me a shock of the new”. I have a fair amount of free time on my hands,so I’m “lucky”, I guess. I have a lot of time to read. On the other hand, I don’t like to waste my time. On the third hand, I do waste my time sometimes. On the fourth hand, I don’t “really” think “it’s” a “waste of time”. That’s basically how I look at things.

      I am definitely not as “well-read” in “the new stuff” as many here at HTML Giant are. *That* is why I come here, and go to numerous other places online. I suppose I like a lot of what I find, but there is a lot of crap out there too. To me it is simply a matter of personal aesthetics.

      Thanks to Justin Taylor I am just finishing up “A Day, A Night, Another Day, Summer”. I borrowed it from the library. I don’t know that I would otherwise have ever found it. And unless I had just written this here, now, Justin would never know that. Now he might. Is that a good thing? I don’t think it matters.

      And I suppose that here and now is as good a time and place as any to address my own personal perspective on anonymous commenters (that means me), a subject brought up in the recent “No User” post. Amy, you mentioned understanding that some folks might want anonymity for professional reasons, and said that you might not want your students “finding you” on the internet. Well, I don’t worry about my students finding me, reading what I write, having opinions thereof. Hell, my students struggle to read. I do, however, worry about some of the administrators I work with.

      I used way too many quotation marks in this comment.

      I don’t like being mean, but I don’t mind mean people. They often make me laugh.

      OK, that’s enough about me.

  49. Tadd Adcox

      I did Linguistics, mainly because there was no Linguistics department at my school, and so I got to take classes in five or six different departments, including some pretty rigorous classes in formal logic (which probably influenced me as a writer as much as anything). If I could do it over again, though? Math. I’m pretty sure pure math is the best thing to study before becoming a writer.

  50. Tadd Adcox

      I did Linguistics, mainly because there was no Linguistics department at my school, and so I got to take classes in five or six different departments, including some pretty rigorous classes in formal logic (which probably influenced me as a writer as much as anything). If I could do it over again, though? Math. I’m pretty sure pure math is the best thing to study before becoming a writer.

  51. keith n b

      why pure math?

  52. keith n b

      why pure math?

  53. Tadd Adcox

      Because it’s absolutely beautiful.

  54. Tadd Adcox

      Because it’s absolutely beautiful.

  55. keith n b

      so then pure aesthetics devoid of concrete content is the precursor to good writing?

  56. keith n b

      so then pure aesthetics devoid of concrete content is the precursor to good writing?

  57. susan

      Anthropology and English. The anthropology part makes me feel better about the English part, it’s true. Sometimes I just tell people I was an anthropology major. Kind of like how I sometimes claim to be 100% Irish.

  58. susan

      Anthropology and English. The anthropology part makes me feel better about the English part, it’s true. Sometimes I just tell people I was an anthropology major. Kind of like how I sometimes claim to be 100% Irish.

  59. Schulyer Prinz

      anthropology makes you feel better? Wow. You’re the first person I’ve ever heard defend that crock of shit. Most useless discipline ever.

  60. Schulyer Prinz

      anthropology makes you feel better? Wow. You’re the first person I’ve ever heard defend that crock of shit. Most useless discipline ever.

  61. Alden

      Engineering.

  62. Alden

      Engineering.

  63. Garett Strickland

      I’ve never gone to college. I’m an adamant autodidact.

  64. Garett Strickland

      I’ve never gone to college. I’m an adamant autodidact.

  65. barry

      i became certified in addiction studies as an undergrad. i completed all the required coursework to be a cac I addictions counselor.

      i cant even imagine it now. me sitting around a desk, telling people why they should stop getting high…

  66. barry

      i became certified in addiction studies as an undergrad. i completed all the required coursework to be a cac I addictions counselor.

      i cant even imagine it now. me sitting around a desk, telling people why they should stop getting high…

  67. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I am interested in this. What… like what do you study to become an addictions counselor? Is it similar to social work programs? I didn’t know that kind of thing happened undergrad. Are harm reduction options ever presented in that kind of program, or are they taboo?

  68. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I am interested in this. What… like what do you study to become an addictions counselor? Is it similar to social work programs? I didn’t know that kind of thing happened undergrad. Are harm reduction options ever presented in that kind of program, or are they taboo?

  69. barry

      actually it was in the school of social work, but the program was called, addiction studies. they offer classes in all types of shit, narcs, alcohol, gambling, family dynamics. etc. i would give you a link, but i think blake said they all go to spam.

      but yeah, it was a good program. i never got around to doing my clinicals because the three places i tried wouldnt let me intern there because i had a drug charge on my record. yeah i know. i know.

  70. barry

      actually it was in the school of social work, but the program was called, addiction studies. they offer classes in all types of shit, narcs, alcohol, gambling, family dynamics. etc. i would give you a link, but i think blake said they all go to spam.

      but yeah, it was a good program. i never got around to doing my clinicals because the three places i tried wouldnt let me intern there because i had a drug charge on my record. yeah i know. i know.

  71. barry

      by harm reduction, do you mean prevention using a biopsychosocial model?

  72. barry

      by harm reduction, do you mean prevention using a biopsychosocial model?

  73. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I wasn’t familiar with the biopsychosocial model so just wikipedia’ed it. Doesn’t seem too entirely different I mean like anything that acknowledges total abstinence (often because of the social context one finds oneself in, for instance the folks I know who heavily advocate it work with young women in the sex trade and other street economies… so this is where it may be similar to biopsychosocial) may not be possible and so tries to find a way to the potential for harm to oneself or others. …clean needle programs maybe the most familiar example.

  74. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I wasn’t familiar with the biopsychosocial model so just wikipedia’ed it. Doesn’t seem too entirely different I mean like anything that acknowledges total abstinence (often because of the social context one finds oneself in, for instance the folks I know who heavily advocate it work with young women in the sex trade and other street economies… so this is where it may be similar to biopsychosocial) may not be possible and so tries to find a way to the potential for harm to oneself or others. …clean needle programs maybe the most familiar example.

  75. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      interesting, cool. It sounded very specialized and grad school-ish to me, so was curious.

      Re: your inability to find a placement, social service agencies and their regulations often upset me — I hear abt the other end of it a lot in my work — folks unable to access services b/c of their immigration status, criminal record, relationship to the sex industry, etc.

  76. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      interesting, cool. It sounded very specialized and grad school-ish to me, so was curious.

      Re: your inability to find a placement, social service agencies and their regulations often upset me — I hear abt the other end of it a lot in my work — folks unable to access services b/c of their immigration status, criminal record, relationship to the sex industry, etc.

  77. Danny

      I have a BA in Journalism and I’m doing incredibly well picking pockets.

  78. Danny

      I have a BA in Journalism and I’m doing incredibly well picking pockets.

  79. susan

      Anthropology was pretty awesome. Not useful in any way. But awesome. Of course, I went to college during the rise of cultural studies, which was pretty much all about taking something you already think is awesome and then studying it.

  80. susan

      Anthropology was pretty awesome. Not useful in any way. But awesome. Of course, I went to college during the rise of cultural studies, which was pretty much all about taking something you already think is awesome and then studying it.

  81. susan

      oops, I misreplied. Move that comment up a few spaces. There.

  82. susan

      oops, I misreplied. Move that comment up a few spaces. There.

  83. Angi

      I’m finishing up undergrad this year (but I’m 28) with a double in philosophy and creative writing. Lately I like the philosophy part a lot better. I’ve had some great experiences in undergrad creative writing, but it’s largely full of people who don’t really care and think it’s an easy degree, which I guess it is if you don’t really care. I’m not sure how much philosophy contributes to my writing, but I know that it kicks my ass a lot more intellectually and that’s not a bad thing.

  84. Angi

      I’m finishing up undergrad this year (but I’m 28) with a double in philosophy and creative writing. Lately I like the philosophy part a lot better. I’ve had some great experiences in undergrad creative writing, but it’s largely full of people who don’t really care and think it’s an easy degree, which I guess it is if you don’t really care. I’m not sure how much philosophy contributes to my writing, but I know that it kicks my ass a lot more intellectually and that’s not a bad thing.

  85. Emalise

      Classics major with a concentration on Latin. I can pick up romantic languages very quickly as a result but studying a dead language does get tedious. The language requirement meant that I always had about 13.5 more hours of coursework to complete during the week than the average student. Latin has helped me to understand English very well. I learned more about syntax, etymology and grammar, than most English majors I’ve encountered. I’ve always tended to be more interested in the cultural aspect of the ancient world, especially art and literature. In fact, I’m writing my honors thesis right now on the literary patronage Maecenas.

  86. Emalise

      Classics major with a concentration on Latin. I can pick up romantic languages very quickly as a result but studying a dead language does get tedious. The language requirement meant that I always had about 13.5 more hours of coursework to complete during the week than the average student. Latin has helped me to understand English very well. I learned more about syntax, etymology and grammar, than most English majors I’ve encountered. I’ve always tended to be more interested in the cultural aspect of the ancient world, especially art and literature. In fact, I’m writing my honors thesis right now on the literary patronage Maecenas.

  87. Amber

      I was a political science major and I was 3 classes shy of having an English degree as well (after 5 years it was time to gradute). I liked poli sci because a lot of the time we were discussing the now and our English program was very focused on the classics. But I must admit my poli sci did make me quite smug in my English classes because I would always point out the political and cultural impact on certain pieces. Now I’m a substitute teacher waiting to get into graduate school next fall.

  88. Amber

      I was a political science major and I was 3 classes shy of having an English degree as well (after 5 years it was time to gradute). I liked poli sci because a lot of the time we were discussing the now and our English program was very focused on the classics. But I must admit my poli sci did make me quite smug in my English classes because I would always point out the political and cultural impact on certain pieces. Now I’m a substitute teacher waiting to get into graduate school next fall.

  89. niina

      English major in a small honors college with a heavy writing requirement. Focus on early modern poetry. I ended up with a 50-page thesis drawing heavily from 17th-century medical texts; this gave me a great understanding of the idea of the body and how it evolved with increasingly detailed scientific knowledge. I refer to this “body of knowledge” (hee) all the time. Also, I think having to write at least 1000 words for every class every week made it so that I don’t even blink anymore at word count requirements, which is kind of useful.

  90. niina

      English major in a small honors college with a heavy writing requirement. Focus on early modern poetry. I ended up with a 50-page thesis drawing heavily from 17th-century medical texts; this gave me a great understanding of the idea of the body and how it evolved with increasingly detailed scientific knowledge. I refer to this “body of knowledge” (hee) all the time. Also, I think having to write at least 1000 words for every class every week made it so that I don’t even blink anymore at word count requirements, which is kind of useful.

  91. Clapper

      Started as a theater major, but took too many classes in other disciplines to qualify for that as my graduating degree. Wound up with Interdepartmental Studies in Speech (which I think is now called Interdepartmental Studies in Communications, since they changed the name of the school a few years back). The most interesting stuff wasn’t happening in the theater department, but in the performance studies department, where there were classes on performance art and also on the adaptation of texts to the stage (in highly stylized format–there was a strong emphasis on keeping the authors’ narrative text intact on the stage; if anyone saw Frank Galati’s “Grapes of Wrath” or Paul Edwards’ “Madame Bovary,” those were both created while they were teaching).

  92. Clapper

      Started as a theater major, but took too many classes in other disciplines to qualify for that as my graduating degree. Wound up with Interdepartmental Studies in Speech (which I think is now called Interdepartmental Studies in Communications, since they changed the name of the school a few years back). The most interesting stuff wasn’t happening in the theater department, but in the performance studies department, where there were classes on performance art and also on the adaptation of texts to the stage (in highly stylized format–there was a strong emphasis on keeping the authors’ narrative text intact on the stage; if anyone saw Frank Galati’s “Grapes of Wrath” or Paul Edwards’ “Madame Bovary,” those were both created while they were teaching).